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Reading with Patrick Reading with Patrick : a teacher, a student, and a life-changing friendship by Michelle Kuo

Michelle Kuo arrived in the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, as a Teach for America volunteer in 2004, bursting with optimism and drive. But she soon encountered the jarring realities of life in one of the poorest counties in America. In this unforgettable memoir, Michelle shares the story of her complicated but rewarding mentorship of one student, Patrick Browning, and his remarkable literary and political awakening. Fifteen and in the eighth grade, Patrick begins to thrive under Michelle's exacting attention. However, after two years of teaching, Michelle leaves Arkansas to attend law school. When, on graduating, she learns that Patrick has been jailed for murder, Michelle returns to Helena and resumes Patrick's education as he sits in jail awaiting trial. For the next seven months they pore over classic novels, poems, and history, and Patrick is galvanized by the works of Frederick Douglass, James Baldwin, Marilynne Robinson, W. S. Merwin, and many others. Reading with Patrick is an inspirational story of friendship, a coming-of-age story for both a young teacher and student, a resonant meditation on race and justice, and a love letter to literature and its power to bind us together.

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